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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Elvira's Haunted Hills (2002)

Elvira's Haunted Hills (2002)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Interviews-Cast-Richard O'Brien (Actor)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 86:23
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sam Irvin
Spirit Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Cassandra Peterson
Richard O'Brien
Mary Scheer
Scott Atkinson
Heather Hopper
Mary Jo Smith
Gabi Andronache
Lucia Maier
Mark Pierson
Theodor Danetti
Constantin Cotimanis
Remus Cernat
Jerry Jackson
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Eric Allaman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sam Irvin, the director of this film, mentions in the "Making of ..." feature that Elvira's Haunted Hills is like Young Frankenstein. He is right in one way, in that it is intended as an affectionate spoof of a particular genre of horror film. Young Frankenstein is a spoof of the Universal horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, Elvira is a parody on the Roger Corman horror films of the 1950s and 1960s. In another way he is very wrong. Young Frankenstein is funny, Elvira's Haunted Hills is not.

    If you have not seen her before, Elvira (played by Cassandra Peterson) is a Vampira like character who has hosted late night horror films on television, and has also appeared in the occasional movie of her own. Her main claims to fame are an amazing hairdo, and even more obviously an amazing hourglass figure which is flaunted for all it is worth (and congratulations to any surgeons who assisted with the sculpting - they did an amazing job).

    In this film Elvira is on her way to Paris during the 1850s to appear in the show "Yes, I Can-Can". She somehow loses her way in Carpathia and winds up in one of the creepy old castles that dot the region in these sort of films. For the balance of the film she screams a lot, flirts a lot, and tries to deal in her own inimitable way with the strange inhabitants, including performing the rather dodgy Le Music Hall number. If you have seen any of the Roger Corman films the rest will be obvious to you - there are mysterious sounds in the castle, what may be ghostly apparitions, a mysterious family curse, and some scenes right out of The Pit and the Pendulum.

    In fact, the repetition of scenes from these earlier films is one of the main problems with this film. It seems that Ms Peterson (one of the script writers) had some difficulty deciding between homage and humour. Some of those earlier films were unintentionally funny because they were so bad. This one is not funny because it starts out bad and never gets any better. You may have heard the best joke in the film before: Creepy doctor - "The village people say the castle is haunted", Elvira - "Who listens to the Village People anymore?". Boom boom. Though it has been used often before, one of the better moments could have been the character who is speaking Romanian which is then badly dubbed into English - the humour is spoilt when Elvira makes it too obvious by asking the camera (and the audience) what is wrong with his lips.

    While I was not particularly impressed with the humour, you will most likely smirk occasionally, and might find some enjoyment in the references to other films, including The Shining and Titanic. Most of the males in the audience may well find the star of the show easy on the eye and Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) gives a nice turn as the mad Count. Given a sufficient intake of alcohol and a bunch or rowdy friends in the room the film may improve (though Michael D's does not recommend the intake of excessive amounts of alcohol).

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is not 16x9 enhanced, which is a shame as it is available in Region 1 with 16x9 enhancement, and would benefit from better presentation.

    The aspect ratio of the transfer is 1.75:1, and as I stated it is not 16x9 enhanced. The aspect ratio of the theatrical presentation was 1.85:1 so as presented on this disc it varies slightly, but not enough to impact upon the viewing experience.

    The film is rather softly focused with shapes somewhat indistinct at times. Occasionally this fuzziness is deliberate in order to play up the delightfully cheesy special effects (another homage to the original horror films), at others it is not deliberate, and likely a result of the low budget production and the lack of 16x9 enhancement. As much of the film takes place at night it is a relief that shadow detail is acceptable, except when the director has people moving around in deliberately badly lit scenes. There is also little low level noise.

    The colours are acceptable, without being particularly notable. Still, the film is meant to capture the drab backwoods of Transylvania so that the drab colours are possibly intended. I can't comment on the accuracy of flesh colours as many of the characters are either dead, or on their way (or possibly undead) and Elvira has more make up on than most freshly dressed corpses.

    There is little damage to note, which is as it should be given the fact that this is a very recent film. While I remember, it is worth noting that some sources suggest the film was released in 2001, although the date given at the end of the credits is 2002. There is some minor aliasing at times and a little grain.

    There are no subtitles.

    The short layer change on this RSDL formatted disc is at 60:28.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer on this disc is quite good, and at times very good, but it is inconsistent in its quality.

    There are two audio tracks available. The first, and the one you will most likely use, is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at a bitrate of 224 Kb/s. This track is rather flat sounding and I'm not sure why it is even on the disc - perhaps to give you a dodgy soundtrack to accompany the rather ordinary visuals, or something to recall the early horror films? The rest of my comments in this section relate to the 5.1 track.

    The dialogue is clear at all times, though occasionally strident. Audio sync is good, except for the deliberately false sounding dub mentioned earlier.

    The music by Eric Allaman sounds just right. It is pretty melodramatic and does its best to play up on the humorous elements in the film. At times it is mixed a little too loud in comparison to the on-screen action.

    The surround activity on offer is a bit of a mixed bag; at times it is restricted to the music, at others it is surprisingly effective. When there was someone pounding a door at 73:40 I stopped the disc to check my front door, yet at other times I had to check to see if the rear speakers were still working.

    The subwoofer sees some activity during the interminable storms rolling around the castle and adds bass support to the more dramatic musical moments.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras package is small, but of reasonable quality.


    The menu has accompanying audio and allows you to: Play Movie, choose Scene Selection, access the Special Features or select Audio Options. There are 16 scenes to choose from.

Trailer - Grownups

    This plays before the menu appears at an aspect ratio of around 1.78:1, non 16x9 enhanced, and is rather boring. There is also a dire anti-piracy ad which suggests video piracy is a key contributor to world terrorism.

Featurette - Making Of

    This is one of the better examples of this sort of feature. It runs for 22:17 and has some interesting snippets of background information on the making of the film. Be warned that it contains some major plot spoilers (not that most of the film is that much of a mystery to start with).

Interview - Richard O'Brien

    This runs for 6:07 and deals in large part with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and is worth a look for fans of that film. The volume varies quite a lot from question to question.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer runs for 1:32 at an aspect ratio of around 1.78:1 and is just as unfunny as the main feature.

Photo Gallery

    There are 20 photos on offer here, 19 from the film and one of the star out of her make up.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc has the same features as the Region 4 version but is 16x9 enhanced. While we have the benefit of a PAL transfer my feeling is that the lack of 16x9 enhancement is detrimental enough to slightly favour the Region 1. The only Region 2 version I could find seemed to lack the extras on offer locally (it was a little hard to tell, as I could only find a German review).


    This is a (very) mildly amusing horror movie spoof, which may well please fans of the star but leave the rest of us reaching for our copies of Young Frankenstein instead. The video transfer is disappointing, but the audio transfer is quite good, albeit inconsistent. The extras are reasonable so that this might make a fair late night rental.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.

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